Purposeful Tweeting, Not Promotion
That doesn't mean promotional tweets that have clicky links and scream Buy my book! Buy my book! (still smirking at that video, thanks again, Melissa!)
To me, purposeful tweeting is a soft-sell activity conducted in your twitterstream. It is the branded remarks which act in a passive way to reinforce your brand in the minds of your tweeps. This is basically the position marketing of which Ries and Trout lectured, but it's on an even more subtle level. Purposeful tweets don't actually ask for the sale but they do make you and your product more salable. Purposeful tweets brand you.
There's a distinct but subtle difference. Like there is between being desired versus being desireable. The former is when someone else takes an action. The latter is what you do to instigate that other person to do so. Am I talking about flirting and dating or selling books? Is there really a difference?
I have to interject my favorite publishing-related humor here (gawd, I hope it's still online) Dating Your Publisher by Kit Whitfield. Have a read (put the drinks and food down first) but just long enough to laugh and come back to finish this post in a good frame of mind. I'm going to get serious in a minute.
I said in a minute, not yet ^_^ First, let me share with you my 2d most favorite line from Kit's little metaphorical journey (my #1 favorite is the one right after this).
You say: 'I self-publish/post on the internet, and I've had some good feedback.'
Dating equivalent: 'The prostitutes I sleep with tell me I'm good in bed.'
Now, understand, Kit wrote this years ago (I mean years ago) before eBooks had exploded, before Kindle existed, before the term "Indie Publishing" had been coined. And yet, it still makes me smile. Okay, LOL, but that's not the point.
If your only communications are with people who exchange money with you, are you branding yourself or selling yourself? Are you even thinking about the Company you're going to have to keep for years to come? Much as we complain that public interest is fleeting, please don't forget that public memory is forever. As is the internet. The brand you create--whether deliberately or by inadvertant ramblings--will keep following you online wherever you go. Google is relentless in its net searching algorithms. I can't say it enough
I was reading Sonia Simone's IMSP article on the Peanut Gallery--and how/when to ignore them--and was struck by the synchronicity of it all. In her article, she's discussing the two different audiences to whom we speak whenever we speak in public. The first is probably obvious--its the customer who buys our book. In business, we call this the "external customer."
The second audience is the person who supports our efforts, our colleagues in the Indie Publishing field who RT our stuff and click "like" on our Facebook Pages to help us look successful to the prospects in the first audience. This second audience is called the "internal customer" in the business world. Smart Indies already know about this internal customer. Forex, Jeremy (@toonopolis) talked about this second audience briefly in his "guest" blog appearance here 2weeks ago, and I have to note, he actually has a list of people who RT him often (yes, I'm on it ^_^)
Let me requote something Jeremy said to show you how he's already using Purposeful Tweets and the results it's getting him. He's calling them Content Tweets but I think it's close to the same thing as my Purposeful Tweets idea.
At the beginning, you will want to try to have a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio of Content (tweets with no links or calls to action) to Promo (tweets with links to book, blog, etc.).
You want to think about your branding when you push your content tweets. I want myself branded thusly: writer, funny, geek (esp, re: cartoons). [...] Part of my branding online is being an expert on cartoons (which is why I blog cartoon reviews) and I use the hashtag #CartoonQuotes [....and later in the post he continued....]
I know I was discouraged the first month or two because I didn't see results. But now I get several tweets a week along the lines of this one from last night:
"Just purchased @toonopolis for my Kindle. Can't wait to see "what's all the hubbub, bub?" (Bugs Bunny)"
Not only has this customer bought his book but he also tweeted excitedly with an @mention to attract Jeremy's attention. He's literally doing Jeremy's marketing for him! What better recommendation could an Indie Author ask for than this? It's not "Buy my book!" It's better. It's "Buy SomeoneElse's book!" Our fellow writers can also be this kind of customer, if we position ourselves in their minds as someone salable. If we're branded correctly.
Indie Authors usually forget about our internal customers and think of them as "friends" who follow our every thought and hang on our blogged words. We often find ourselves actually believing the terms Facebook and Twitter and Blogger call our customers. But they're still customers. They may also be or become our friends, but they are, first and foremost, customers.
When you tweet content that isn't selling to the external customer, what are you providing to your internal customers? Do you make sure your tweets are purposeful or just chit-chat with your buddies and pals? I confess, I do both.
I spend at least 25% of my Twitter time chit-chatting, often with total strangers. I convert at least half of them into new followers. I only have one or two days a week available to do this sort of thing but at least I get a handful of new followers everytime I do it.
Part of me is just being me when I tweet like that, but my backbrain is always thinking about the purposeful tweets and how I can turn the conversation into one where I position myself in the potential new follower/new second audience/new external customer's mind as a valuable resource.
I'll mention something about how I can help them with this or that article I wrote--or am going to write in the coming weeks (I'm starting to get a backlog of topics I want to publish here!) I always try to find a connection, a purpose to our Twitter conversation that will eventually lead them into wanting to share me and my resources as something worthwhile. If I helped them, after all, couldn't I help their friends? And won't that make them look good?
I feel as though I sound awfully self-serving saying it that way. I'm not really. Note I said half of my casual Twitter conversations (about 12% of my overall tweeting activity) turn into prospective supporters. That means half of them don't and I already know going in they won't ever. They aren't interested in buying what I'm selling--even though it's all FREE.
Guaranteed, at least 12% of the people with whom I have Twitter conversations won't ever click through my links, won't RT me and won't share my links with their friends. They won't even remember my username an hour later. Maybe. They're reading what I have to say in the moment and then they move on. And that's okay. I don't want to be all things to all people. I'm just human. I enjoy chit-chatting for its own sake.
But that leaves 12% of my casual-seeming Twitter contacts converting into followers--first of my Twitterstream, then of my blog, then of course, of me. It's a gradual process that works in phases. It's an investment of time--not hours on end, minutes here, minutes there--and it has to be done without the expectation of immediate results. Otherwise, to go back to our dating metaphor, I'd come off way too desperate for anyone to date. And if I can stretch the metaphor to its limits, I'd note I'm far more interested in the LTR than I am the one-night stand. Granted, 10,000 "one night stands" (one-time purchases of one title I have for sale) might be a nice chunk of change, it will not sustain me in a career of Indie Publishing. It might get me one year, max, possibly flashing through a best seller list for an hour and then declining again. Thanks, but I'll pass on that and hold out for...well, not marriage, but Twue Wuv (forgive the Princess Bride reference but you had to know it was coming with all the dating references!)
Like I said way back in June when I first reopened this blog, call me a tortoise anyday! I'll take 1000 True Fans in a heart beat over the 10,000 Twitter followers who never RT me or buy anything. In fact, I'd be happy with only 500 if they are Twue Fans. I can crank out enough books a year for the next 20 years that 500 Twue Fans could support me quite comfortably, thanks! It'd be a long and happy symbiotic marriage for everyone involved.
Tomorrow on the Tuesday Tip I want to go over a few special hashtags that aren't just writerly but some of my reader fans might find useful. Yes! I have readers checking out the blog, too!